Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Sun-Warmed Stone Haiku by Kristen Deming

English Original

as if his hand
remained in my hand --
sun-warmed stone

plum afternoon,  2017

Kristen Deming

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

仍停留在我手裡 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

仍停留在我手里 --

Bio Sketch

Kristen Deming was an accomplished haiku poet and lover of literature. Her haiku collection, Plum Afternoon was a finalist in the Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Award in 2017. As a past president of the Haiku Society of America and active member in the haiku community in Japan for many years, one of Kristen's enduring contributions to the haiku communities around the world was a weekly poetry column in the Japan Times called "Haiku Moments" that she co-wrote with a Japanese colleague for six years, helping to open the world of haiku to English speakers and to give glimpses of Japanese culture through the lens of haiku. 

Monday, May 27, 2024

Special Feature: Selected Poems for Memorial Day Reflections

Today, the last Monday of May, is Memorial Day in the United States whose defense spending accounts for nearly 40 percent of military expenditures by countries around the world in 2023, bigger than the Next 9 Countries Combined (FYI: See the recently released figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI).

And In his nationally televised address last year, President Joe Biden described the American arms industry in Remarkably GlOWING TERMS, noting that, “just as in World War II, today patriotic American workers are building the arsenal of democracy and serving the cause of freedom.” (FYI: Salon, "Commentary," Nov. 15, 2023: "Good times for the military-industrial complex": American arms makers cashing in on conflict: But is it truly the arsenal of democracy?)

Selected Poems for your reflections

Memorial Day
"the first death of war" banner
dripping red

Chen-ou Liu

FYI: In war, truth is the first casualty, a military maxim attributed to Aeschylus, the father of Greek tragedy

Memorial Day 
a layer of dust 
covers the urn 

H. Gene Murtha  

a dark side
to the memorial
fading light
renders all
soldiers unknown

Tim Gardiner

war dead
exit out of a blue mathematics

Sumimura Seirinshi

memorial day
the parade lengthens
by a new war

Gail Oare

Gaza's night sky
a ghastly shade of red ...
at the screen's bottom
the news ticker announces
Raytheon stock soars

Chen-ou Liu

FYI: The Raytheon Company was a major U.S. defense contractor, and it supplies the Israeli government with a wide variety of weapons, including various missiles and bombs.

AddedAgainst the Drowning Noise of Other Words, LXIV: "campus protests"

put your bodies 
upon the gears, upon the wheels
upon the levers,
stop the War Machine now ...
keffiyeh-draped students chant nonstop

FYI: Reuters, May 27: Israeli attack on Rafah tent camp kills 45, prompts international outcry

"There was nothing unusual, then we heard a very loud noise, and fire erupted around us, All the children started screaming... The sound was terrifying; we felt like the metal was about to collapse on us, and shrapnel fell into the rooms."

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Groom and Bride Haiku by Mike Gallagher

English Original

the groom 
waiting for the bride
a church mouse

Mike Gallagher

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch 
Mike Gallagher is an Irish poet who, although coming late to poetry and even later to the wonderful world of haiku, has had much more success than he ever expected in both forms and consistently makes the Top 100 list of haiku poets in Europe. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Poetic Musings: Dinner for One Haiku by Joshua Gage

dinner for one ...
the budding cherry now
just another tree

First Place,  First Annual Solitary Daisy Haiku Contest

Joshua Gage

Commentary: L 1sets the tone and mood of the haiku while unexpected yet visually and emotionally contrasting Ls 2&3 invoke a sense of loss, hinting at the narrator's state of mood/mind: things that used to be alluringly beautiful now don't matter anymore. But, why? One simple yet thematically and emotionally significant question left to the reader's imagination and reflection.

The following two haiku might provide some of possible answers:

without you
the cherry blossoms a memory
of cherry blossoms

Sakura Award, 2016 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational

Tom Drescher

blossom rain
already a memory
and yet ...

Second Place, New Zealand Poetry Society International Competition, 2023

Chen-ou Liu

Friday, May 24, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Diner's Dumpster Haiku by Sanja Domenuš

English Original

diner's dumpster overfilled ...
a gray-haired man and flies feast
in gathering dusk

A Fly on a Slice of Bread, 2024

Sanja Domenuš

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

餐車的垃圾箱已經滿了 ...

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

餐车的垃圾箱已经满了 ...

Bio Sketch

Sanja Domenuš was born in 1966 in Sisak, Croatia. She has been writing poetry and poetry since 2017. Her poetry has been awarded and included in many anthologies and magazines. She lives and works in Sisak, where she participates in numerous poetry events and festivals. And she is the author of four poetry books: The Girl Who Ate StonesSquid CleanerWalk with Szymborska and A Fly on a Slice of Bread.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

A Room of My Own: Midlife Loneliness Tanka

risky as smoking
15 cigarettes a day
this disease
of midlife loneliness
stares at me, me alone 

FYI: The U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently highlighted the problem, claiming that loneliness was as dangerous to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It increases the risk of various illnesses like heart disease and raises quality of life issues like addiction, depression, the urge to commit suicide, and the odds of premature death.


sleet turns to snow
the coldness of tonight
without her


3 a.m.
even the flower moon
for me alone


harbor lights
dimmed by winter fog
a lone stray

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Cold Moon Haiku by Bill Kenney

English Original

cold moon
the sound of my words
in her eyes

tinywords, 15:2, October 28 2015

Bill Kenney

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Translation result紙箱

Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch 
Born and raised in the Boston area, and living for over 50 years in New York City, Bill Kenney was a professor for many years in the English Department at Manhattan College. He started writing haiku in 2004, a month before his 72nd birthday, and became an active participant in the New York City Spring Street Haiku group. His haiku were published in numerous journals and anthologies. And his collection of haiku, keep walking, won the 2021 Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Special Feature: Selected Poems for ICC Seeking Arrest Warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Gallant and Three Hamas Leaders

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sought arrest warrants yesterday for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defence minister, Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders, Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

In an interview yesterday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan detailed the charges against Netanyahu:

Karim Khan: We’ve applied for warrants. Of course, the judges must determine whether or not to issue them, but we’ve applied today. We’ll apply for warrants for Prime Minister Netanyahu and also Minister of Defense Gallant for the crimes of causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict... 

Read the full  interview here and the full statement of ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan and selected poems about these war crimes:

Never Again
a promise, a slogan, 
a bumper sticker ...
now a rallying cry
for more chaos and carnage

NeverEnding Story, November 5, 2023

Life and Death

a silver-haired man stares
into the night sky:
the time and space
between each fireball

to save a life
is to save this broken world
a rabbi laments ...
TV debate back and forth
about the new body count

NeverEnding Story, November 18, 2023

out of reach            air            ops

and a dead child’s stare

NeverEnding Story, March 5 2024

dating profile photo:
a smiling twentysomething
with a M4
in front of mushroom clouds
from Israeli strikes in Gaza

NeverEnding Story, March 28, 2024

between blood of birth
and blood of death
a new life
on the hospital floor ...
a Gazan mother's last look

NeverEnding Story, April 4, 2024

To conclude today's "Special Feature" post about ICC's arrest warrants,  I would like to share with you the following new tanka: 

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, LXIII: "ICC's arrest warrants"

in my dream
a Gazan boy's bruised body
a question mark
unravelling in smoky twilight ...
cease-fire chants from afar

Chen-ou Liu

FYI: Haaretz, Analysis, May 21: Jerusalem, Not The Hague: Israel Must Investigate Netanyahu for Crimes Against Humanity in Gaza

The only effective way of responding to the ICC's request for arrest warrants is to convene an Israeli state commission of inquiry to examine if Gaza's population was deliberately starved – not cry antisemitism and Nazism

Monday, May 20, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Wedding Bells Haiku by Marion Alice Poirier

English Original

wedding bells —
my simmering pot roast
hooks a widower

Marion Alice Poirier

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

婚禮鐘聲 —
Chinese Translation (Simplified)

婚礼钟声 —

Bio Sketch

Marion Alice Poirier is a lifetime resident of Boston, MA. She began writing haiku in 2001 and eventually began to teach haiku in workshops on Poetry Circle and Emerging Poets. She also write short poetry and have been published in on-line haiku and short poetry journals like Tinywords, Hedgerow and The Heron's Nest.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

One Man's Maple Moon: Heated Bodies Tanka by Jane Reichhold

English Original

almond nails 
pressed into brown skin
a faint perfume 
of two heated bodies
touching light as petals 

A Gift of Tanka, 1990

Jane Reichhold

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Jane Reichhold was born as Janet Styer in 1937 in Lima , Ohio , USA . She had published over thirty books of haiku, renga, tanka, and translations. Her latest tanka book, Taking Tanka Home was translated into Japanese by Aya Yuhki. Her most popular book is Basho The Complete Haiku by Kodansha International. As founder and editor of AHA Books, Jane also published Mirrors: International Haiku ForumGeppo, for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and she had co-edited with Werner Reichhold, Lynx for Linking Poets since 1992. Lynx went online in 2000 in the web site Jane started in 1995. Since 2006 she had maintained an online forum – AHAforum

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Piazza Haiku by Muriel Ford

English Original

in the piazza
rain – and a symphony
of unseen doves

At Any Time, 2016

Muriel Ford

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Muriel Ford was born and lived most of her life in Toronto, but with fond memories of her brief experiences living in rural Ontario and Bowen Island, BC. As a successful visual artist, she was juried into The Society of Canadian Artists. She was a respected member of Haiku Canada and her poems won numerous global awards over a period of more than 20 years.

Friday, May 17, 2024

A Room of My Own: Lingering Smell Tanka

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, LX: "suicide deaths"

the lingering smell
of blood-stained body parts
scattered everywhere
another soldier dies
by his own hand, and yet ...

FYI: As of May 11, 637 officers and soldiers have been killed and ten officers and soldiers have died by suicide. And the head of IDF's Personnel Directorate announced the army will, for the first time, recognize soldiers who died of "personal circumstances' as war casualties."

As a rule, professionals in the field say, most soldiers who kill themselves are very young, in basic training or in their first year of service. But here, too, October 7 had an unusual effect. Suddenly, the military has to contend with suicidal tendencies in career or reserve soldiers and officers, in their 30s and 40s.

And this tanka is a sequel, which also could be read as a counter tanka, to the following entry:

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XXXVIII: "Israeli strikes" 

dating profile photo:
a smiling twentysomething
with a M4
in front of mushroom clouds
from Israeli strikes in Gaza

FYI: Haaretz, March 24: 'We're Not Only Here to Fuck Hamas': How Israeli Militarism Took Over Online Dating: Why are Israeli soldiers uploading photos of themselves inside Gazan homes or with Palestinian detainees to their dating profiles? 

Added: Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, LXI: "the day after"

225 days
since October 7th
still "the day after"
in this broken Promised Land
fireballing rage, mourning in the dark....

What were they thinking in the General Staff on October 7? That we would be able to wage a long war while we are shutting off water and electricity for more than 2 million people and trying to starve them? I don't know where this is going to lead, but it is clear to me that the Israeli narrative of from Holocaust to revival, which was accepted in the world beforehand, has lost" - Brig. Gen. (ret.) Dov Tamari

Over 1,000 Israeli academics and administrative staff have signed a petition calling on the Israeli government to immediately end the war in Gaza and return the hostages held by Hamas.

AddedAgainst the Drowning Noise of Other Words, LXI: "Israeli protesters"

a sea of protesters
squeezed shoulder to shoulder
police phalanxes

FYI: Haaretz, May 18Demonstrations and protests calling for elections and the release of hostages are taking place Saturday evening across Israel.

The main demonstration in Tel Aviv, protesting against the government and calling for early elections, is being held at the Kaplan intersection.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Poetic Musings: Skylark Haiku by Basho

in the midst of the plain
sings the skylark
free of all things

Moss-Hung Trees, 1992


Commentary by Winona Baker: Haiku is meant to be enjoyed and appreciated. It has been written during festivals, parties, nature tours, walks, and other delightful diversions... a voice to the spirit of union when nature and human nature become one. That moment, which sharpens our awareness of the natural world around us and our inseparable relationship to it, is without boundaries.

Note: The haiku below could be read as a prequel to Basho's:

this field
of rippling gold ...
skylark song

Chen-ou Liu

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Special Feature: Selected Poems and Remarks for Reflections on Nakba Day

Just one day after Israelis commemorated the Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948, Palestinians around the world mark their Nakba Day, the anniversary of their mass expulsion and exodus from what is now Israel with protests and other events at a time of mounting concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Nakba, Arabic for "catastrophe," refers to the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel before and during the "War of Independence in 1948." (The Times of Israel, May 15).

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, LXIII: "the day after 'Independence Day,' "Nakba Day"

giant Stars of David
and "Together We Will Win" signs
fill Tel Aviv's sky ...
Gazans flee to nowhere
in a desert of rubble

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, LIX: "health crisis"

the Grim Reaper waits ...
Gazan children in danger 
from the smoky sky
disease on the ground 
and death from hunger and thirst

(FYI: Haaretz, May 16: Health Crisis in Gaza Spirals as New Diseases, Infections Spread)

It's because the Holocaust dwarfed all other instances of 20th-century injustice and illegality, Edward Said, exiled American Palestinian scholar and probably the world's most famous literary critic claimed, the Palestinians became "Victims of the period's most tragic victims."

However, he made the following special emphasis: 

You cannot continue to victimize someone else just because you yourself were a victim once—there has to be a LIMIT.

And most importantly, 

Haaretz, Analysis, May 13: What Will Happen When the Holocaust No Longer Prevents the World From Seeing Israel as It Is?

For anyone who wanted to see, the truth was already abundantly clear in 1955: "They treat the Arabs, those still here, in a way that in itself would be enough to rally the whole world against Israel," wrote Hannah Arendt.

smoky ruins ...
each day a new battle
for water and food

In the real world, a real country serves a purpose other than just as a haven from persecution.

-- Anshel Pfeffer, "Israel's Foundational Conflict Is Playing Out in the Gaza War," Haaretz, Opinion, May 10

candlelight virgil
a tattooed survivor holds
a Stop the War sign

For peace-loving people around the world, I would like to share the following relevant part of a powerful speech Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave on Vietnam. What he said then is totally applicable to our times now. 

There comes a time when "Silence Is Betrayal..." Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter....In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

grinding sound of tanks ...
Never Again, Never Again 
for everyone

Peace vigil
our candles flicker and hold
in the wind

Frogpond, May, 1988

Peggy Heinrich

To conclude today's post, I would like to share with two poems by Palestinian poets:

I The following is the last stanza of one of the most read/popular Palestinian poems, "Identity Card," written by Mahmoud Darwish, poet of Palestinian resistance (1941-2008) and author of The Butterfly Effect, 2008, who died believing in the power of his poetry to make a difference.

Write down on the top of the first page:
I do not hate people
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper's flesh will be my food
Beware ...
Beware ...
Of my hunger
And my anger!

II Watch the Scottish actor Brian Cox read Refaat Alareer's poem, “If I Must Die,” posted on December 1, 2023 on Twitter/X, a heartbreakingly prophetic farewell poem that has now been translated into more than 40 languages.

“If I Must Die” 

If I must die,
you must live
to tell my story
to sell my things
to buy a piece of cloth
and some strings,
(make it white with a long tail)
so that a child, somewhere in Gaza
while looking heaven in the eye
awaiting his dad who left in a blaze –
and bid no one farewell 
not even to his flesh
not even to himself –
sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up
and thinks for a moment an angel is there
bringing back love
If I must die
let it bring hope
let it be a tale.
(FYI: Refaat Alareer was killed on December 6, around 6 PM local time in Gaza, in a targeted Israeli airstrike that also killed his brother, his sister, and four of her children)

FYI: For the Israeli side of the story, see Haaretz, Analysis, May 13: This Independence Day, Israel Has Split Into Two Incompatible Jewish States

There is an elephant in the Israeli room – and no, it's not occupation, though that is its main cause.

The elephant in the room is Israel gradually but inexorably being divided into the State of Israel – a high-tech, secular, outward-looking, imperfect but liberal state – and the Kingdom of Judea, a Jewish-supremacist, ultranationalist theocracy with messianic, antidemocratic tendencies that encourage isolation.

Never in the proud 76 years of Israel's sovereign existence has there been a sadder, more somber, depressing and acrimonious Independence Day than this year … But above and beyond pondering October 7, there is a growing realization that 'unity,' 'one destiny' and 'we have no choice and no other country' have become meaningless and hollow clichés. Instead, more and more Israelis on both sides of the divide see their country as essentially split into two distinct entities: Judea and Israel"